18th May 2007
Digging through my collection of pictures I come across this collection of Mon. I’ve been fascinated by these heraldic devices for a while and wondered what the rules were governing them. Well, Wikipedia to the rescue:
Mon (紋?)(plural mon), also monshō (紋章?), mondokoro (紋所?), and kamon (家紋?), are Japanese heraldic symbols. Mon may refer to any symbol, while kamon and mondokoro refer specifically to family symbols. Mon serve roughly similar functions to badges, crests and family crests in European heraldry.
A mon consists of a roundel encircling a design (such as feathers, flowers, or some man-made object). They are somewhat like coats of arms in that they are either associated with a particular clan or family, or an individual who has achieved some variety of public recognition. The designs are usually stylised versions of traditional Japanese themes, such as bamboo. Artists may choose something symbolising their art; a fan design might be chosen by a geisha.
I love Wikipedia. Interesting that people nowadays use the inkan instead. I’ve always wanted to do my own inkan - as it closely resembles the western form of printer’s mark. I really want to have my own Mon too, though. What kind of Mon would a designer/photographer/typographer have though? And would it be considered unforgivably gauche for a westerner to create their own? Well dammit, I want one. Maybe I could just use the crown image from this site…